Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum was founded in the 1920's by Col. Boyce Thompson, an Arizona mining magnate. He had served as co-leader of a Red Cross mercy mission to Russia in 1917 and, while there, he had an epiphany in regards to the importance of plant life to the life of man. On his return, he used his wealth to build Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden. His legacy contains towering trees, sheer mountain cliffs, a riparian forest, cacti from all over the world, many natural habitats filled with local wildlife, a hidden canyon, a desert lake... the list of his creations here is long, while the main walking trail loop is only 1.5 miles. The Arboretum encompasses 323 acres and is jointly managed by the Boyce Thompson Arboretum Board, the University of Arizona and Arizona State Parks. All through the year there are environmental and ecological events planned commemorating such things as Australia Day, Wildflower Month, Earth/Arbor Day, Welcome Back and Bye Bye Buzzards, and others.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is on US Highway 60, about 3 miles west of Superior. The park is open daily (except Christmas Day) with winter hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (October 1 to April 30) and summer hours: 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM (May 1 to September 30). The Park offers a visitor center, demonstration garden, picnic area with tables, a gift shop, and restrooms.

Update: I went by Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park at 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning in early March, 2009. It was closed, same as nearly every other Arizona State Park I tried to visit on that same journey. In these days of financial disaster Arizona seems to have decided to save a few bucks by closing more than a few state parks. All during my trip, the newspaper headlines were about the Republican governor in this oh-so-Republican state trying to raise taxes by a billion dollars a year. I guess we're just not in Kansas any more...